Now more than ever, companies are aware of the importance of good customer experience to their longevity and success. With this, it only makes sense that they have a reliable customer service team to help them with the influx of concerns and complaints. In a traditional setup, this customer service team pertains to a group tasked to attend to the clients via email, calls, social media platforms, or websites.
But as the landscape evolved and quick conversational marketing was defined to make or break businesses, live chat support became more popular. Chatbots utilizing artificial intelligence was also developed, and became another popular tool in creating a seamless customer experience.
All companies are driven by their goal to be present whenever customers need help, so it’s just a matter of choosing the right solution for your business.
If you are having trouble deciding between live chat support or chatbot, come check the advantages and disadvantages of each!
What is the difference between Live Chat Support and Chatbot?
Before we explain all the pros and cons, let’s first start with a basic question that probably already crossed your mind. What’s the difference between live chat support and chatbot?
Live chat support is communication solution used by customer service teams to make sure visitors get real-time and instant help from agents. Whether it’s help navigating a site, booking a particular service, complaining about an error in payment, checking the status of their delivery, confirming a business’ ongoing promotions and so much more, live chat support can definitely make a customer’s life so much easier. This is useful during situations that need personal or human intervention.
On the other hand, chatbot helps automate simple tasks, and can run without the need of human intervention, or at least to a certain extent. Some chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence, utilizing both machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) technology. There are also rule-based chatbots that could hold conversations with customers based on pre-defined flows. Normally, different conversation scenarios will be mapped out, and the chatbot will just display the right message depending on the trigger provided by the customer.
Live chat support and chatbot are both valuable solutions utilized by businesses to improve customer satisfaction and experience. However, do you know which one is right for you?
Let’s get to the pros and cons!
Comparing the two communications solutions
Live Chat Support Advantages
Helps build better customer relationships
Compared with talking to a human agent, you can’t really hold a normal conversation with a customer service bot (unless we’ve reached that level of technological advancement for it to be used commercially). This is because nothing can replace human interaction. The caller will be happier having someone “real” to talk to, instead of hearing pre-recorded options. Live chat support is better if we’re talking about building or even maintaining good customer relationships.
It is a way to give personalized assistance
Sometimes, customers would bring up requests outside of their original concern. A live chat agent can take action and provide relevant help or recommendations easily without the need for the customer to go back to the “Menu” and hear all options. This translates to better experience and effective problem solving, especially because the live chat agents’ capabilities are not limited to the predefined flows.
The setup is pretty easy
Embedding the chat widget in your website is the first step of building a live chat support team. After that, you need is a trained person or team to attend to the customers daily, guided with a script or manual for various concerns.
It is a gold mine for customer insights
Live chat support can also be utilized to learn about the company’s strengths and weaknesses. What’s so good about the products or services? Is there something that they need to improve? Customers won’t hold back in sharing their honest thoughts and opinions with the agent during their interaction. Use this to know the existing pain points, and strategize on a better customer experience.
Live Chat Support Disadvantages
It takes time for a live chat agent to attend to a customer
If you compare the speed of a live chat agent to a computer, then the former would definitely have some limitations. They are attending to customers vith various issues, and you need to take into account that it’s personalized assistance. Depending also on the complexity of request, and the individual agent’s efficiency, it might take longer than expected. If another customer gets tired of waiting, then that may mean bad business.
Some live chat agents are only available during certain hours
This is not a 24/7 support offered to customers, unless the business decides to outsource this work to a place with different time zone (for example: outsourcing live chat work to the Philippines). If the business follows their regular working hours, expect that there is a cut off and the customers may experience trouble just reaching a live chat agent.
Live chat support is costly
This communications solution requires human interaction. To the business, it means having a solid team who can provide expert assistance to the customers. Just remember that costs accompanies the growing headcount.
Human mistakes are unavoidable
Live chat support can be prone to errors, and it’s because humans are more likely to make mistakes than the machine.
Now, let’s move on to the chatbot, shall we?
Human involvement can be kept to a minimum and the task will still be completed
Even without human intervention, inquiries will still be processed because it will depend on machine learning or pre-defined flows when dealing with customers.
24/7 support and faster wait time
Does this sound good to you? Of course! The customers won’t have to wait too long to get a feedback because the bot already has a saved reply a message. With this, all interactions are straightforward, and more chats will be answered due to the faster wait time.
Teams can focus on more important tasks
Can you believe that a good amount of time is actually spent on customer service? Businesses know that it can make or break their success. If there was a way to make things easier, why not take it, right? You can free up your teams’ time and have them work on more strategic tasks by leaving repetitive tasks or complaint handling to the bot! As long as proper automation features are in place, you don’t need to worry too much!
Customer journey improvement
A smoother and a quicker journey would increase total satisfaction for both the business and the customer. Call it a win-win!
Costs are lower
The cost to set-up a chatbot may seem expensive, but if it’s going to be used in the long run, you’ll find that it will actually save your business a lot of money!
There’s no human touch
The chatbot is a sophisticated solution powered by technology, and there is no human touch involved. Since some customers are easily irritated or turned off when engaging with a bot, then you need to regularly monitor the quality of the interactions.
Flexibility is limited
Sure, chatbots would work on various scenarios, but in the event that it is unable to keep up with a customer request, then the whole journey might be reset, and would lead to frustration and low satisfaction. Compared to having a live chat agent who can provide personalized assistance, customers would have to settle for what is programmed in the company’s chatbot. This may also mean lost opportunities for cross-sell or upsell of products and services.
Redesign and maintenance would mean more expenses
If you failed to set up the chatbot properly during its launch and missed important details, then you might have to work on redesign and cash out again. It also depends on the chatbot partner if you have the flexibility and permission to still make revisions once a certain setup is already live.
When should you use live chat support and chatbot?
Now that you know the advantages and limitations of each solution, it’s time to assess which one is perfect for your business! While some people would just say “just adopt a hybrid model!”, don’t settle right away!
It’s equally important to learn when you should execute the certain solution for maximum efficiency.
Use live chat support if…
You are pushing for sales
Live chat agents can nudge customers down the sales funnel because the chatbot may sound robotic, or may be too soft for selling. Go snag that cross-sell and upsell opportunity with your agents!
You value strong customer relationships
It’s no surprise that humans prefer genuine connection, and it holds even for businesses. If you want to retain happy customers and give them personalized assistance, then having a live chat agent is the way to go! They can solve complex issues without being limited by pre-defined flows.
Use chatbot if…
You want to be present 24/7
Nothing is more expensive that a missed opportunity, so some businesses really make it a point to be available to customers 24/7. A chatbot can cover an employee’s outside working hours, and there’s no additional cost other than what you shelled out for its set up! Unlimited conversations will run simultaneously and it doesn’t need any sort of human intervention.
Your customers repeatedly ask the same question
Do you just need a solution to give an automated response based on the frequently asked questions? Chatbots can save your day and offer greater efficiency! Live chat agents are normally better for complex questions, but if it’s just about simple customer queries, you can settle for a chatbot!
But wait, you can also use a hybrid model…
Perhaps your mind is already set on using one solution, but at the end of the day, live chat support and chatbot are complementary tools that would bring customer service experience to whole new level. You can combine the best of both worlds by using automation (chatbot) to hold simple conversations, and using live chat support to resolve complex concerns and provide human touch.
If you are also taking into account 24/7 support, then you might be interested to learn more about outsourcing a capable and competent live chat customer support team to the Philippines!
Send us a message to learn more.